10/09/2012 4:31PM

Gantry keeps familiar schedule heading into Breeders' Cup Sprint

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Gantry, winner of the Smile, is expected to ship to Southern California next week.

In a pattern that has worked for him before, Gantry will ship early to Santa Anita to be able to work over the Southern California track in advance of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 3.

The last time the horse, who is based in Louisiana, ran in a major stakes, he traveled to Florida well in advance of the Grade 2 Smile to get a drill in at Calder. Gantry won the Smile, a Win and You’re In race, by five lengths and received a fees-paid berth into the BC Sprint as well as a $10,000 travel allowance to Southern California.

Gantry will most likely fly out next week, trainer Ron Faucheux said. He said it’s still undetermined whether the horse will be able to fly out of New Orleans, which is a two-hour van ride from his base at the Evangeline Downs Training Center near Lafayette, or if he will have to leave from Dallas, which is about a six-hour van ride.

“Obviously, New Orleans is the best-case scenario,” he said.

Gantry won the Smile on July 7, a race in which he equaled his best Beyer Speed Figure, a 102. He was given about three weeks off following the start and has raced once since, finishing second to wire-to-wire winner Delaunay in the $50,000 Temperence Hill at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 8. In his most recent work, Gantry breezed six furlongs in 1:14 over a wet-fast track at the training center Sept. 29.

“He worked good,” Faucheux said. “We kind of didn’t ask him to do a whole lot. We’re going to put another work into him this Saturday, and we’ll expect a little bit more from him. We’ll let him work pretty good. We’ll go five-eighths with him.

“As of now, we’re probably going to fly him into California next week and get him another work close to about a week out from the race. We took him to Calder early to work. We worked him six days from the race at Calder, and he probably ran his best race at Calder. We worked him and backed off of him from there up to the race. That’s kind of the plan.”

Faucheux said rider plans are still being determined for the Breeders’ Cup. He said Richard Eramia, who has ridden the horse in his last six starts, as well as Javier Castellano and John Velazquez, who rode Gantry when he was based in New York, are the names in the hat.

“We’ll see how that shakes out,” Faucheux said.

Gantry was a private purchase by Brittlyn Stables prior to the Fair Grounds meet last fall. He won three straight sprint stakes at the New Orleans track before going on to win the Smile.

Amanecer de Oro at Fair Grounds

Amanecer de Oro, who passed on an intended start in the recent Grade 3 Phoenix at Keeneland, will make his next start in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at Fair Grounds on Dec. 8, trainer Steven Duke said. The Phoenix was run on Polytrack.

“He’d never been on the Poly, and we just decided to skip that race,” Duke said. “He’s a Louisiana-bred, and we’re going to try to keep him in Louisiana-bred company as much as we can.”

Amanecer de Oro, who races for Northpointe Thoroughbreds, won last year’s Louisiana Champions Day Sprint. In his most recent start Aug. 18, he won the $60,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint at Louisiana Downs with a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 96. Duke said the horse would train up to Louisiana Champions Day.

“He runs his biggest races fresh,” said Duke, who moved the horse into Fair Grounds on Sunday.

2013 dates set for Louisiana

Dates for next year’s Thoroughbred meets at Evangeline Downs and Louisiana Downs were approved by the state’s racing commission at a recent meeting. Evangeline will run an 84-date meet, April 17-Sept. 7. Louisiana Downs will conduct 84 days of racing, May 3-Sept. 22.

Earlier this year, the commission approved Thoroughbred dates for Delta Downs and Fair Grounds.

On the Quarter Horse side, the commission approved a 46-date meet at Louisiana Downs, Jan. 12-March 27; a 46-date meet at Delta Downs, April 26-July 13; and a 14-date meet at Fair Grounds, Aug. 16-Sept. 7.

Also at the meeting, Joe Patin Jr., 43, had his jockey license reinstated. He had been suspended on March 7, 2008, for failure to fulfill riding obligations and later was convicted of possession of marijuana, an official with the commission said. As part of Patin’s reinstatement, he will be subject to bi-weekly drug testing.

Also at the meeting, the panel reduced the number of required betting interests for superfectas from eight to six, and for trifectas, from six to five. The changes go into effect Oct. 20.